September 05, 2018

Creative Life Round Up!

Hello creative friends! What have I been up to?

Sorry it's been a while, I think I'm way overdue for a catch-up :)

I have started a ceramics class, which actually only has two weeks left for the term. I am totally smitten by working with clay. I really felt I wanted to learn, as I couldn't remember all the clay joining rules and techniques that I've learned in the past, and wanted to make sure I didn't make something and have my work explode along with blowing up other people's work that might happen to be sitting next to mine in the kiln.

I've done one class per week so far and it's given me enough knowledge of the basics to start creating.  I can see you could study pottery for years and still be learning.

I've purchased some of my own supplies so I can carry on learning ceramics at home (thank you, youtube!)

I also think it's a perfect craft for holding my attention. As I suffer from craft- attention- deficit- disorder (alongside many of you I'm sure) and struggle to commit to any one thing, I think that the excitement of opening a kiln and getting to see what comes out might just be enough to keep me coming back for more. I am really into it. I even dreamt about glazing last night!

So yesterday I got to pick up my first two finished pieces! A little mini pinch pot, and this texture-decorated tea light holder. I played around with the tea light holder to see if I could add pieces on that didn't fall off in the kiln, and they didn't, hooray!

A new DIY craft tutorial I've been working on involves cement & creating something for the garden, oooh! *rubs hands together* :)

Some table bling... from a while ago, but I love the photo!

This illustrated quote available as a print in the shop. "Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." Drawn using coloured pencils and acrylic paint. A reminder to myself that sometimes I need to stop thinking about what projects I'm working on and just get working! This would look great in a plain frame, but if you're over-the-top like me and feel more is more, an ornate frame would work just as well.

And an image from my sketchbook, just to pretty up the post a bit more :) 

I'm also running a weekly after school kids art class, which has taken up a fair bit of my time too, planning and getting things ready for that through the week. And researching how to teach and manage a kids class room! I get all the art stuff, that is covered, but class room management!? Holy moly..

So, I'll have some more clay stuff soon. Who knows where I'm going with this! I'm also entering into the Illustrators Australia & New Zealand 2018 Awards, with an unpublished illustration (pictures to come). Also- a chook pen reno coming up! Hopefully with the arrival of spring, sunnier days and longer light hours, I'll be less tired and more motived to create more.

Hope you've enjoyed my update, 

Jules :)

July 15, 2018

Kids Craft Project: Painted Dream Catchers

Hello Creativity Lovers!

I'm sharing a craft project that we kept busy with one day over the school holidays.

We had some of our kids' friends over for a whole day, and they are art and craft lovers, so we thought we'd come up with a special project for them to complete while they were here. 

Painted dream catchers! 

I got the fabric circles and wire loops ready before our guests came over. I cut circles of calico, a little smaller than the wire circles I made, sewed around them leaving a gap, snipped around the edges then turned out to the right side. I pressed the circles with an iron, then topstitched close to the edges all around, sealing the opening.

I gave each circle a coat of gesso and let dry. Check out my desk, one of my kids has written "ART!" Haha.

I suggested each kid think of a theme for their dream catcher, and we printed off some pictures from the internet for inspiration. I also suggested we each thought about our colour theme, and whether we wanted lighter or darker colours. One of my girls thought a colour palette scheme printed from the internet would be a good idea, so we did that.

Once the kids were in the studio, they chose fabric to wrap around our wire circles, sealing the ends with tacky craft glue. 

Then the kids got to work painting their chosen themes. We used student grade acrylic paint, and one kid chose to add some pen to the top of their dry painting (we used a hair dryer to speed up the paint drying), and another chose to use some stamps to embellish her piece.

The stamping was done by painting acrylic paint onto the stamp then pressing onto the fabric. You need to quickly wash stamps after doing that, before the acrylic paint dries into grooves.

Contrast works well in paintings. I suggested a darker background here to make the cat stand out. Of course, I'm not strict about it all, if someone chooses to go against my suggestion, then I'm all for letting their own individual creativity and ideas shine!

Then came sewing our paintings into our wire loops. To make it easier, I used a hammer and a chunky nail to make holes around the edges so the kids could easily sew their chosen wool colour through the edges of the paintings. We used tapestry needles for the sewing.

We found it easier to loosely sew the calico circle in, then go around fixing the tension of the wool later.

Busy, crafty, fun work!

The kids then chose from ribbons, fabric strips, ric-rac, wool, and beaded strands to "flourish" their dream catchers. (Flourish was a word used by one of the kids- love it!)

They also discovered my supply of resin flowers, and so some of them got added to their paintings as well. I made wool loops to attach to the tops for hanging.

Then, the dream catchers were all finished, and our proud guest artists went home with a unique piece of art to hang in their rooms and catch all their wildest dreams!

I hope you enjoyed seeing the process of our latest kids craft project.

Jules :)

June 20, 2018

New Art: Sculpture

Hello Creativity Lovers! I have some new art to share today in the form of a sculpture.

I was driven to create a piece that was elaborate and detailed. As I was making it I was thinking about the woman holding the cheetah creature, who also seems to represent a child, with its naive face and it got me thinking about the things we are connected to. We care for the extensions of ourselves in our lives; children or animals, and we are bound and tied to them in bittersweet ways. 

The Ties That Bind Us or; Nurture

The binding is represented by the entwining black beads around the woman's leg, keeping her in a place that sometimes feels restrictive, but ultimately, it's where she wants to be.

It's a mixed media art piece that was made used paper mache, air dry clay, plaster, gauze, wire, beads, wool, fabric and acrylic paint. It's also a shout out to my love of crazy colour, texture, and maximalism.

I think this 3D art/ sculpture has got me all excited about a new way of working, and my mind is flooded with imagery of possibilities. I have signed up for a ceramics class next term to keep this 3D art & sculpture thread going, and am excited to see where that leads.

Hope you enjoyed checking out my latest project.

Jules :)

May 22, 2018

Crafting A Patterned Home - Book by Kristin Nicholas

I have been following Kristin Nicholas on her blog Getting Stitched on The Farm for a while now, and what I love about her is that she seems genuinely motivated out of the pure love of creating, to decorate her home and make things. She doesn't follow trends, she just has a love for pattern and colour that transcends the latest fashions. It's a true love affair, not just a fling!

Image of Kristin's living room via Apartment therapy- How gorgeous!

This post contains affiliate links (see bottom of post for explanation).

So when I found out she had a new book out, Crafting A Patterned Home, published by Roost Books, I didn't hesitate, I didn't even read about it, I just jumped online and bought it!

I am, like Kristin, intoxicated by pattern and colour and love home decorating. Sometimes I walk into a minimalist space and find some peace and a breath of fresh air, but after a while, I grow bored. Pattern and colour excite me. So clearly I feel like I have lots in common with Kristin.

She has covered the walls in her home with hand-painted patterns, and objects such as lampshades and furniture are not safe... there's even a bath! In this book, she shares how she has done it.

Kristin talks about her previous book Crafting A Colorful Home in this video below, but you can get a sneak peek into her colourful life.

So even though I can appreciate a nice calm neutral home, when I saw Kristin's via this Houzz video I sat there absolutely enthralled. I just would love to sit in her loungeroom with a cuppa and cake and absorb all that pattern into my soul.

Kristin also includes some words of encouragement for the novice or the unsure (scared?) on how to get started.

She gives in-depth advice on how she creates her rooms. One of my favourite snippets of advice she gives is don't make your rooms too "matchy-matchy". I've always agreed with that line of thought; less matchy-matchy makes for a more personalised, interesting home. If all of your furniture is the same design, your rooms might end up looking too much like a furniture display store.

There's a lot of advice on colour, how to think about and design a room, and techniques and tools. There are projects for each space of the house, kitchen & dining, living room & library, bathroom and bedroom, and then outdoor spaces: pottery studio and garden shed, and in the orchard and under the pergola. And of course, if you don't have a pottery studio or pergola, you could make projects for your potting shed or outdoor deck for example.

Such as the one in the image below. I really want to do this with the chook pen window!

The book is bursting with colour, and as a creative person myself, I find it very motivating and I'm eager to try some of the projects in the book.

Thank you Kristin for a lovely book! It's going to slide out of my bookshelf and appear on my coffee table frequently!

Kristin's new book can be found here: Crafting A Patterned Home

Jules :)

*Affiliate Information: Affiliate links help me earn small commissions on products (at no extra cost to you), which helps support my love of blogging and sharing creative things. I only ever recommend or link to products that I'm genuinely into or would use.

May 08, 2018

Plaster Wall Hangings

Hello Creatives!

I've just had a mini Etsy shop update, where I have finished uploading some of the plaster art wall hangings I've recently made. I now have birds and hearts in the shop.

They are made from plaster (so suitable for indoors only) made from a silicone mould that I made myself. I cast them in plaster, then clean them up when set, and paint them in acrylic paints.

They are coated with a gloss acrylic sealer. Each one is one-of-a-kind and totally unique.

You can find them in my shop here!

Jules :)

April 23, 2018

An Anna Maria Horner Cross Stitch

I am super guilty of having many UFO's in my studio (unfinished objects), so I am pretty proud of myself that I just finished framing this cross stitch piece yesterday! And I didn't even start it that long ago!

The pattern comes from Anna Maria's Needlework Notebook. It's one of the more in-depth and detailed designs in the book, and I think it was the reason I bought the book. There are many other projects I would like to complete in this gorgeous book, which I find is rare for me to want to do any more than about 3 projects in one craft book. I attribute this to Anna's designs. She'd have to be my favourite fabric designer. I just love the colours she uses.

This post contains affiliate links (see bottom of post for explanation).

In her book she mentions her daughter thought this pattern looked like candy and a computer game all at once. I think Anna's daughter was spot on!

I completed the bulk of this cross stitch whilst away on a holiday. I wanted a crafty project to work on that wasn't one of my own designs. I just wanted to switch off and create something without having to think about colour, composition and design. The number of hours poured into this work were many. My husband mentioned all I was doing every time he looked at me was stitching. I asked him to guess how much time I had spent on it. He estimated 100 hours!

The work was so worth it and was so fulfilling. I now have a cross stitch on my wall that I spent so much time on; and perhaps will be hanging in one of my girls' houses when I'm long gone. For someone who bores easily, for some reason the motivation stayed high through this whole project. I thoroughly enjoyed making it. I really love the texture and look that the little cross stitches have.

Waiting for my car to be repaired was as good a time as any to make a start...

The only thing I will say regarding the pattern is that it took me a long time to work out which colour went where, as the chart was only coloured and didn't have a symbol key. I think I got some colours mixed up and ended up using a colour from my own stash as I couldn't work it out. But all that said, I got there in the end and it was totally worth figuring out because Anna Maria Horner's designs are just so beautiful. My colours may not be exact, but I don't really think that matters.

Anna recommends and uses Anchor embroidery thread, and so I ordered the Anchor threads online (even though DMC is what I can source locally). When searching online for Anchor to DMC conversion charts, some of the numbers differed across different charts, so I ordered Anchor threads to make sure I had the right colours.

Anna Maria's Needlework Notebook includes projects in needlepoint, cross stitch, embroidery and crewelwork patterns, all with Anna's beautiful colourful style. Even though I am itching to start another project from this book, I really must focus on my own work. Perhaps I'll get this book off the shelf and get some supplies for my next holiday! I think I have started my own new personal tradition; working on a kit or design of someone else's whilst on holiday. (I also read a novel or two.)

You can find Anna's gorgeous book here: Anna Maria's Needlework Notebook

Jules :)

*Affiliate Information: Affiliate links help me earn small commissions on products (at no extra cost to you), which helps support my love of blogging and sharing creative things. I only ever recommend or link to products that I'm genuinely into or would use.


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